Monday, 26 June 2017


Thursday, 22 June 2017

Books From Blogs - The Book

In my post on  12 June I discussed some alternatives for  converting blogs to books. I decided to try out Blook. I now have the book and an ebook in three formats which should cover any ereader. The book has 154 pages and covers the first three months of blog posts for my first blogging year in New Zealand (which, unfortunately, was not my first year there).


Advantages: It took very little time and is very simple to do. The quality is good.
Disadvantages: There is little flexibility and if a post has one word (one of mine had a heading: 'Paper Wasp' and a text 'R.I.P.'.) then it still occupies one page. Only softback is offered.
Cost: The cost of the paper book alone was £49.31. The cost of the ebook at £3.44 (standard rate regardless of size). The cost of carriage worldwide was £6 (regardless of size).

Having done one I will certainly do more. My next one will enjoy a 15% discount.

I anyone want to have a go then the first person I introduce who produces a book will get a 30% discount. (as would I).

I may also have another try with Blog2Book which, last try, met with technical problems.

Post script: Since writing this several commenters have pointed out that there are no dates on the posts in the book. I hadn't noticed! Silly me. That is quite a serious disadvantage. I shall investigate.

Monday, 19 June 2017

A Mug's A Mug For Aw That

Some years ago (in fact, and rather scarily, well over a decade ago) I came across this mug. It's rather chunky but it appealed to me because it was unusual and very comfortable to hold. Unfortunately I couldn't find out who made it.

When I was watching the morning news on the BBC's Breakfast programme it struck me that no one held their coffee mug by the handle.  Everyone held it like this:

Thank you Marcel/David. I try to live by this mantra.
So I wondered what you might think of the innovative design and how you hold your mug. 

Those who prefer China tea cups need not respond.

Saturday, 17 June 2017

Fire Safety

The terrible fire at Grenfell Tower affected me deeply in the same way that it has doubtless affected anyone who followed it during that night and in the days since. I've always been a bit obsessive over fire safety. During the war our Dad was a fireman by night on the Liverpool Docks which were a prime target for enemy bombers. When we were young Dad taught us quite a lot about fire safety. So I've always had fire extinguishers in the house and car. I've been fortunate never to have needed them for myself although I did once extinguish a car fire for someone whose car burst into flames in the middle of a roundabout near Chester many years ago. Nowadays with fire extinguishers being so cheap it's not even worth getting them overhauled. I just replace them every so often. 

It goes without saying that my house is fitted with smoke and carbon monoxide alarms and that they are fully checked and maintained.I hope that yours are too.

However I was thinking about means of escape this morning. My house is all on one ground floor (apart from the loft which is used for storage). It has three doors to the outside and, apart from the bathroom and bedrooms all rooms have more than one door. 

Windows (except ones which open to the floor) are not (unless things have changed in the last couple of decades) allowed to be counted as means of escape in case of fire. However in an emergency anyone able bodied enough would obviously uses a window if they had to. That's probably more the case if one had to be rescued from the first or second floor by a fireman.

However it is a requirement of most, if not all, house insurance policies that windows fitted with locks (which means most double glazing for a start) are locked when the house is not occupied and that the key is not visible from the outside. Failure to comply can invalidate the policy. Of course most people check that their windows are shut and latched before they go out but I suspect that very very few people lock them. I'm also fairly sure that those who do cannot be bothered unlocking them all when they come home.

I'm also a bit obsessive over making sure that I follow the letter of insurance policies (which is probably one reason why I've never had any trouble with claims). So my windows are locked even though up here on Lewis theft from private properties is almost unknown. The trouble with that is that I only unlock them when I want to open them (which, in all honesty, is not that often here). 

If, therefore, in the middle of the night there was a fire cutting off my escape from my bedroom I'd hop out of the window. However in such a case I'd almost certainly find that the key for the windows had dropped off its hook and disappeared into the washing basket or under the bed. Life's like that.